We made it to the finish line! I have to admit, season two of The Tunnel wasn't quite as compelling as its first, though I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was the lack of any juicy Karl/Elise interaction. Their dynamic felt a bit muted, though this final episode did a lot to make up for it.
I also found it more difficult to follow the narrative thread this time around. A rewatch would probably clear up some of the intricacies, but The Musketeers has finally started so there's precious little time for that!
In any case, the evidence against Eryka Klein is stacking up, and an uncharacteristically shaken Elise confronts her about it. Turns out Eryka is working with the terrorists, her defence being: "Both sides do bad things in war. I just chose the side that was the least hypocritical." Elise does not take this well. In fact, the reason this episode is so affecting is because we see both Karl and Elise – laidback and stoic respectively – truly afraid for the first time.
Though Eryka initially insists she feels nothing for Elise in a bid to bluff her way out of the apartment (even shooting Olivier on the way to her car) she later declares her genuineness. That's at the point when she comes back for one more night, and we see Elise cry for the first time. Ouch, this is brutal.
Still, it led to the scene in which Elise confesses to Karl in the car, and makes her heartfelt declaration: "you're my best friend." Altogether now: aww.
From what I could tell, the dodgy cops arranged a deal with Koba that involved the release of his father, in exchange for ... not sure. The Chemist? In any case, said cops reminded me a lot of the Scotsman in Undercover – all "bigger pictures" and "difficult choices", though everything turns to shite when Koba Senior abruptly (and almost amusingly) dies of a heart attack.
Naturally his son thinks he was murdered on purpose, and when Karl and Elise fall into the hands of the Chemist, he orders their gruesome deaths. So began the most disturbing scene of the season – perhaps the entire show. Karl and Elise are faced with a prolonged three-day death at the hands of the Chemist, who promises that when their bodies are eventually found, they'll end up infecting thousands more.
Like I said before, it's the sight of two generally calm and composed people looking starkly terrified that makes this sequence so harrowing (here's an odd contrast: when Jabba the Hutt details what the Sarlacc Pit will do to Luke and his friends, the intended victims react with such nonchalance and bravado that it diminishes the horror).
But in this case, it's difficult to watch Karl and Elise completely powerless to do anything but struggle (and fail) to keep their composure.
It is perhaps a flaw in the writing that Karl/Elise have absolutely nothing to do with their own rescue, but I can't be too angry that it comes down to Eryka having a change of heart and betraying Koba in order to save the woman she loves. In my last review I complained that they went the way of the Depraved Bisexual, and yet this episode did a lot to win me back over. They made it something much more complex rather than just cruel and depressing, with two women now caught in a quagmire of deception and betrayal, but also genuine, hopeless love.
It's like the bisexual version of Athos/Milady, and as Karl says after Eryka saves them both: "nothing's ever perfect."
So the most important lesson to be learned here is ALWAYS CALLED FOR BACKUP FIRST. Honestly, the moment Karl said "let's just take a look" I knew they'd walk straight into trouble.
Nice continuity on the Brazilian rent boy being brought back to share what he knew about the Chemist's location.
The Chemist died WAY too quickly, but at least we got to watch that smug shit Koba get arrested.
Laura speculates that the monoxide might have been a complete coincidence. Honestly, I've no idea. I thought Angel Coulby got a nice little subplot this season (which was more than I expected really) and I'm glad she reclaimed her life by the final episode.
It's implied that Louise and BB hook-up in the final episode. Okay, whatever. Only Karl's expression on watching them leave made that particular development remotely worthwhile.
Funny how the positions of our protagonists are completely switched from what they were at the end of last season: Karl is reasonably upbeat (or at least has no reason to be devastated) while Elise is heartbroken (though over a betrayal instead of a death).
The question now is: will there be a season three? This certainly didn't feel like a definitive ending (and they've still got the dangling thread of season one's Peloton hanging over them) though I suppose with the decreased amount of episodes they got this year, a continuation isn't looking too good.
Still, my fingers are crossed. I'm gonna need some closure on Elise.